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WH Smith drops Deloitte for PwC audit contract

PWC has been awarded WH Smith’s audit contract tender over incumbent firm Deloitte, the retailer has announced.

Deloitte, which has audited the group’s accounts since it was listed in 2006, will complete work for the year ending 31 August 2014. PwC will then be appointed from the following financial, subject to shareholder approval at the 2015 AGM.

WH Smith’s 2013 annual report confirmed its plans to tender the audit in 2014, as a result of changes in the UK Corporate Governance Code over the appointment of auditors. It had not previously considered going to market as it felt five-year partner rotation at the group and at Deloitte was “sufficient to maintain the necessary independence, and it has continued to be satisfied with Deloitte’s performance”. There were no contractual restrictions on the tender.

The retailer also established a formal policy on non-audit work in its latest accounts, with audit committee chair approval needed if non-audit fees exceed £25,000. For 2013, Deloitte’s non-audit fees were £107,071, while the audit fee was £265,859.

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